In an unpredictable turn of events, backup quarterback T.J. Yates entered the Texans Monday night matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Yates knew he was the next man up when Brian Hoyer approached him on the sideline.
"He came up to me and told me to get ready," Yates said. "He knew something was wrong. He just told me get ready and go in."
On his first drive, Yates threw a touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins in the same endzone where he connected with Kevin Walter four years ago.
"Yes, it was a little nostalgic," Yates said after the game. "I wish my parents could have been here today. I've had a lot of good memories in Cincinnati, and I'm
just glad that we came out of here with a win."
Yates entered the game with 2:21 left in the third quarter, when Hoyer left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. Yates led the Texans on a nine-play, 79-yard drive that ended in a 22-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins. Houston took its first lead of the game, up 10-6 over the Bengals, with 14:20 left in the game.
"When all else fails, throw it up to Hop," Yates said. "That's the only thing I was thinking right there. I had a good matchup with one-on-one, and Hop made an unbelievable catch."
Yates finished the game, completing 5-of-11 for 69 yards and the touchdown.
"He's a pro," head coach Bill O'Brien said of Yates. "He was prepared to play if something were to happen to Brian. Brian got dinged and was having trouble out there, and so he went in there. I thought T.J. did a really good job for only having been here for a couple weeks."
In 2011 at Cincinnati, Yates led two 80-plus yard drives, also in the fourth quarter. He threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Walter with two seconds remaining to complete the comeback that clinched the first franchise AFC South Division title. Yates earned NFL Rookie of the Week honors for his performance at Cincinnati in Week 14.